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Update on the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project's Plans to Support Families of Youth With Deaf-Blindness and Additional Disabilities
[Posted on behalf of Carol Darrah at the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project.]
Navigating Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood: An Update on GSAP’s Plan to Support Families of Youth with Deaf-Blindness and Additional Disabilities
The majority of our transition-age youth with deaf-blindness have additional disabilities and these students and their families often face many challenges as they plan for life after high school. During 2018, the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project (GSAP) and our Southeast state deaf-blind project partners have been taking steps to enhance our capacity to meet the needs of the families of our students with significant disabilities.
In March 2018, GSAP hosted a weekend workshop facilitated by David Wiley from the Texas Deafblind Project. Families and SDBP staff from nine states (AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN), along with representatives from VR, PTIC, NDCB, and HKNC participated. Themes of the workshop included: discovering what’s most important to your son or daughter; forming and taking control of a vision of the future; teaching relevant skills; finding help and support; and looking for opportunities. Participants learned about helpful tools and resources that families can use when working together with their young adult and educational team to plan for a successful future. In addition, our goal (as SDBPs) was to use what we learned during this SE regional collaborative event to offer state-specific events in the future.
During spring and summer 2018, GSAP had conversations about hosting Georgia events with our state partners, which include several state departments/agencies (Education, VR, DD services, Community Health, & Public Health) as well as our PTIC, two UCEDDs, state AT project, and DD council. In our new grant cycle, we are adapting the Texas materials to meet the needs of Georgia families and are currently in the process of planning our first Georgia event for early 2019. We envision the focus to include: imagining a successful future; benefits of person-centered planning; state resources panel; creating an action plan of steps families will take with their young adult and educational team; and identifying a designated contact person for follow-up. As part of the follow-up, we also anticipate offering workshops on specific topics of interest to families.
We hope that this update sparks conversation, as we are curious to learn more about what other SDBPs (in the Southeast and beyond) are doing to support youth with deaf-blindness and additional disabilities and their families to plan for a future that is purposeful, meaningful, and enjoyable?